1. April 2015. It was a warm morning in Sangkhlaburi when David and I disembarked at the largest of Khao Laem’s dotted islands. It had been an enchanting hour chugging around the ethereal waters at sunrise. We passed right by the ghostly form of a sunken temple and stopped at a secluded beach that led to a steep, forest trail up to the abandoned hilltop temple Wat Somdet Gao. Now, it was time to check out a much larger ruined temple. “Wat Sam Prasop!” hummed our boat captain, stabbing a bony finger towards the earthen structure before us, so off we went to take a look.
2. April 2015. Wat Sam Prasop is one of Sangkhlaburi’s temples that, depending on the season, is prone to flooding and becoming one of the region’s so-called sunken temples. It was completely dry on the day of my visit, so we were able to pass the stone Buddha guarding the entrance and duck under the archway.
3. April 2015. Wat Sam Prasop’s interior is stark and eerie, an open air structure of porthole windows and decorative wall arches that once held little Buddha figurines now nowhere to be seen. The covered makeshift shrine is still maintained by locals during the dry season.
4. April 2015. There are some cool perspectives to be had from around the island through Wat Sam Prasop’s windows: the distant form of another ruined temple alongside a viewing tower in one direction, a young farmer girl loading up a bucket with fruit in the other. As I lined up my shot she lifted her head and looked right at me. It was the expression of a girl who hasn’t had an easy life.
5. April 2015. Wat Sam Prasop is one of three temples we saw that morning as part of our sunrise cruise around Khao Laem Reservoir. Just grab one of the many available boat captains down by Saphan Mon Bridge and haggle a bit until you reach a happy compromise. As a general rule of thumb go down to 50% of the original quote.
For more on my adventures in this incredible Thai town, take a look at my other 5s on Sangkhlaburi.
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